Happy Father’s Day!!! For some of us, it is a great day; but for others, Father’s Day evokes feelings of loneliness, sadness and even anger. It is a reminder of the absence of one of the most significant people in our lives. Contrary to popular belief, mothers and fathers are equally important. Nearly 25 million American children under the age of 18 live in homes void of their biological fathers. Fatherless homes seem like nothing more than a modern or progressive idea until we review the stats.
• 85% of children exhibiting behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
• 71% of high school dropouts AND 71% of teen pregnancies are a result of fatherless homes.
• 63% of youth suicides are children who come from fatherless homes
• Children from fatherless homes are more likely to end up in prison, commit violent crimes, live in poverty, use illicit drugs, enter abusive relationships (sexual abuse included), experience health problems and have anger management issues. Contrarily, these children are less likely to have careers (as opposed to jobs), get married, experience financial freedom, graduate college or own a home.
Obviously, fathers are a necessary piece of a successful family. But why? How can the presence or absence of a single person make such an incredible difference in the lives of their children and the overall condition of the family?
God blesses the family through the father. God chose the father to direct his household in the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just (Genesis 18:19). Ephesians 6:4 encourages fathers not to provoke anger in their children, but instead, bring them up in the instruction of God. The word also warns that fathers who do not provide for their children are worse than unbelievers (1 Tim. 5:8). Pastor T.D. Jakes gave a phenomenal teaching on the 5 characteristics of the father a little while ago. 1, The father is a PROTECTOR. He is the leader of his family. He covers them and gives himself for his family (Ephesians 5:23-25). 2, The father is a PROVIDER. This characteristic is not just limited to financial stability. The father provides loves, wisdom, counsel, friendship, insight and discipline (Prov. 4:1&2, Prov. 19:18, Psa. 103:13). 3, The father is a PROMOTER. Good fathers are not selfish. They promote more than just themselves. He does all that he can to ensure the advancement of his family so that they rise together. His success determines theirs (Malachi 4:6). 4, The father is a PRIEST. He is a praying man. Just attending church once a week is not enough for him. Carrying out his task as a good father heavily depends on his relationship with Christ (Prov. 20:7). 5, The father is a PROPHET. He speaks to his family’s destiny (Rom. 417). He’s an encourager (1 Thess. 5:11, 2 Peter 1:21).
I am blessed to have a wonderful example for a father. My dad is every bit of a protector, provider, promoter, priest and a prophet. My dad worked hard and sacrificed for his children. He taught us to be honest people of integrity, always encouraging us to walk in the way of the Lord. Men like my dad seem to be harder to find these days. I suspect this can be accredited to the disruption of the family structure over the past few decades. More women are having children without ever being married. More men are leaving their children because they are too consumed with their own selfish desires to be bothered with the responsibilities of fatherhood, despite creating the responsibility. More children are growing up in broken homes never witnessing God’s design for family, thus having no idea how to create their own families in the future. Our children are no longer being raised according to the word and many of the issues today are a direct result of that.
I often wonder how children raised in fatherless homes view God as a Father. No matter the reason the fathers left, these kids have essentially been abandoned by them. As an inner-city volunteer with children, I am always interested to hear their views about family and fathers. Often, the views are negative. They describe feelings of neglect, uncertainty, insecurity and worthlessness because their own fathers seemingly did not see enough value in them to stick around. How can a fatherless child have confidence in God the Father? How can we tell them to trust Him because He loves them; yet their own fathers can’t be trusted and have sacrificed nothing for them? To these children, scriptures about God never leaving or forsaking His people (Hebrew 13:5) is a foreign concept. It is difficult to trust the love of an unseen Father if you’ve never truly known it from your earthly father.
How can mothers change this view? Ensuring the success of her children begins by forging a relationship with Christ (Prov. 22:6). This requires reading and understanding the word. Pray for revelation and wait on God’s guidance (Psa. 16:11). As you read the word, try to walk it out. Only reading the word, but not “doing” the word yields no results (James 1:22). You must trust God. This is the only way to be a successful mother and Christian. Ask God for a loving husband and father for your children (Matt. 7:7-8). These men still exist and I believe God will give you the desires of your heart, but letting go of living by the world’s rationale and opinions is absolutely necessary (Psa. 37:4). By now, it’s no secret that I am pro-marriage and pro-family. I believe the success of society hinges on the success of the family, which can only be executed by doing things God’s way. There are no other alternatives that will lead us to the ideal world that we so desire.
Kirby N. McKinney